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Gregg Edwards - born Cimiotti in a mongrel family where the italianate passion dominated - has some background for several grounds for contribution. Why this page? To attract colleagues to frame futures for Wikipedia that might be significantly different and substantially better.

I've written just one wikipedia article in English, and corrected one in German, on the composer and violinist Pieter Hellendaal. I made hundreds of signed small contributions and recently many hundreds where I didn't bother signing in because I now know I'm likely to have a culture-clash with most Editors. [My article on Cran (unit) was blitzed by editors unfamiliar with the term's centrality for centuries in North Atlantic trade. Or how its millions of barrels as reusable stock influenced the early trade in oil products, and thus of a major modern unit – the Oil Barrel. Ah! How often zealous editors know not what they do.]

But first, let me note that, like everybody else, I'm tremendously impressed with Wikipedia and its world-changing achievement.

Yet, because I tried to build something similar in the1970s and early 80s, with deep engagement of researchers on what works in presenting similar content and over ten-thousand researcher-contributors from around the world,

I'm likely to be forever at odds with Wikipedia's now entrenched and gentrified culture. Like most neo-Victorian colonizers accepting the burden of civilizing the Masses into proper respect for the Classes, it will feel forever victimized and misunderstood by blow-back charges of "genderism" or "racism" &c &c blah, blah, blah …

During my long life and prominent activism, I've been engaged in many similar conflicts, and have consulted a goodly sampling of students of how and why such conflicts occur, and what hopes have we to productively leverage the inevitable and intrinsic strife. A public page seldom works to engage thoughtful discussion of cases and considerations, so I’ll just try a few provocations and hope to find some more personal friendly talk.

MUSIC

My background here is as a musician-manqué: Raised in a household of professional musicians -- great grandparents who immigrated from Italy to play for a symphony orchestra; grandmother was the church organist; aunts and uncle &c... My father owned (and bankrupted despite well-known hits and bands) a record company and later a night-club which was also a Mafia-infested hangout that I managed for a while... and unsuccessfully tried to save. Before it died, our excesses of enthusiasm did win several front page Variety reports on the 400-seat Phantasmagoria and allowed me to work with a series of awesome musicians.

I was encouraged to start composition at 4. I studied composition at Rice U and U Md where I left suddenly as a Senior, walking out while awaiting my juried oboe exam. I unrealistically thought I would do better on my own as a computer-based composer. I sang with several groups in some famous venues, scrubbed as a church organist, improv'ed with friends as a jazz pianist with no distinctive sound, and finally dribbled out in overly ambitious compositions. ...Like an opera I keep revising because it just doesn't click. [I feel that the material is getting closer to maturing as my life struggles thru more deadly challenges.]

My biggest accomplishment in this shrinking stream of my life has been in organizing festivals for innovative arts. Altho we involved thousands of contributors over two decades, even that turned out better off when turned over to others. This earnest but less than mediocre music-based background helped me encourage others to accomplish what I couldn't. Now my name doesn't even make a footnote. A marquee has no room for manqués.

I did get a few gigs as an actor, and many more as a futurist in the entertainment & tech industries. Mostly, it helped me meet some deservedly famous people whose friendship transformed my life.

This common-told story – of a strong-minded youth hobbled by modest talent – did help get me some interesting gigs:

1

For a few years I served as liaison on Arts & Science projects between the NEA and the NSF. Here I was blessed to work with NEA's Bess Lomax Hawes, who went on to set up the Folk-Art awards, state programs, and the annual Folk-life festival on the National Mall. As a teen-ager in Texas, I had already developed friendships with other Lomaxes, and later had been deeply schooled by Alan in data-based yet intimately-engaged cross-cultural anthropology as presented by the school of Connie Arensberg and Margaret Mead.

Here lies an aside on two waring mentalities in Anthropology – and because it seem genetic – all human affairs. But here to draw a point: Which is better in friendship: Intensity v duration. In my experience, both are consequential, but in different ways: I finally follower Marageret's many-year scolding to get away from NSF. She said the overhead and conflicts required by formal institutions like NSF left little time and robbed the music from a creative life. Her model was intensely personal, and even to be to focus of her attention for a moment was mind-changing, and when continued over years, transformative. If she liked somebody's potential, she'd book a speech and turn over the proceeds as a no-paperwork one-time seed grant. She said that recognizing the fruit of that seed should be enough to launch a project.

Margaret was right about politics scourging talent. She often showed that when talent was ready, a hand-up was more often better than a hand-out. But Bess was right about the necessity of politics sustaining institutions that foster talent: Talent – despite the mythology of Athena bursting fully armored from the mind of Zeus – requires much Time, Tools and Training to develop. Only institutions, even now-informal ones like church and family, consistently provide those supports.

Following Bess's advice to stay and leverage NSF seems proofed-out when I helped recruit tremendous talents to and fought to sustain funding while program-managing the initial development of computer graphics and research on games: Both later becoming huge industries.

[Aside on Who Created the Internet, as another example of who creates the Future versus who writes History: NSF small-grantees in Project Aloha solved the technical problem of cheaply switching comm-lines among many nodes. Perhaps as a needed complement, DoD solved the institutional problem of sufficient funding to mature the equipment. NSF was lobbied to support another approach to the cheap-switch issue; I opposed funding the several hundred-million dollar project to scale-up the old-tech and called it Pharonic. How Impolitic!

To credit his intellectual integrity, Don Bitzer later tell me I had been right. While he's right about Project Plato experimenting with many useful apps, hundreds of others using hundreds of times less money at the same time or decade before were exploring similar projects:. From Project One with about zero funding in a South-of-Market commune to Tony Oettinger at Harvard. Bitzer and his colleagues visited NSF to fight for funding; to my imperfect recollection, never to put their program in a larger context so that they could take funding to optimally apply their many unique talents and resources to develop where (from a larger view) it might be better used. While normally successful, such are the skills of the conqueror not the colleague.

Here, lies another perennial split: Much technical creativity can be developed on the cheap. But Big Engineering requires Big Bucks, and that entails winner-take-all politics and all its dirty-tricks.

2

My amateur tinkering in music and technology got me recruited into the Society for Arts and Science (SAS), mostly a group of arts-oriented friends with tenure at name-universities and STEM backgrounds. {See: There is a perennial stream for THEAMS = Tech Humanities Engineering Arts Math Science to be, if Enterprise is added, the modern Trivium and Quadrivium.] This group put on annual festivals, and due to the international fame of many of its members, could wrangle famous wealthy institutions to pay the bills.

When I joined, it was rare to find those (1) working with some competency across what then were taboo boundaries between Art, Science, Math, Tech &c, and (2) with enough prestige to leverage funding. Such stringent criteria also meant that most members were older, retiring or dying; they needed to recruit young-blood. They did have some, but few youthful, but middle-aged auctors like Tullio Regge, a sculptor and furniture designer who was an impish, world-famous theoretical physicist; I met him at Turin University when I was there on a Fulbright.

Luckily for me, the members passed me around as an invited lecturer (mostly at Princeton), which worked out well enough for them to recommend me to be the principle keynoter and five-day speaker for the week-long centennial celebration of RISD. There I was told that it was up to me to "arrange" the next meetings. They had built me up, so I had the duty to keep things going.

3

Well, it so happened, in my unhappiness with the often wrong-headed but survival-savvy direction of NSF, that several years before I had decided to try to shame them into becoming more creative, not by direct critique or internal complaining (which regularly got people fired with reputations ruined) but by demonstrating a better way.

I learned this trick from Joe Coates, a rival futurist and antagonist who had survived for several years at NSF despite being poisonously critical of his bosses, their grantees, the program direction … His secret was to become a very active public speaker, cultivate powerful friends, and make his firing not worth the political cost. I thought that by remaining positive, I could leverage even more effectively his tactics, and perhaps thereby make NSF a worthwhile career.

So, for several years I proposed (mostly got friends to front as proposers with me so-happening to be a proposed speaker) many public sessions of the annual meetings of the American Association for the Advancement of Science; often I was the most frequent presenter. Some of the sessions were spectacular successes, so much so that the AAAS staff asked me to consider being the keynote speaker for the next annual meeting. I polled my SAS friends, and they agree to seize the chance.

So, along with SAS and members of the ecumenical religion community I've called home for a half-century, I took on being the keynoter, we raised funds, put on a multi-media concert, exposition, & seminar on the transformative potential of Arts & Science fusion. For this I got a free pass to, and a big hotel suite for entertaining; I dropped in once, but was too busy with duties to use it, but instead stayed in the garage apartment of a Lomax cousin who was a musicologist and publisher and put in a week helping with presentations.

4

This kind of experience helped a lot when I was asked to organize the then thirty-odd Microsoft research labs into a symposium and prepare a ten-year tech plan -- which management hated, and provoked them spending millions for Arthur-Anderson to prepare a more conventional response. Yet they eventually largely followed our plan as they encountered a highly unconventional on-coming decade.

Something similar occurred in attempts to open the hearts and minds in their long-term future framing at Exxon and Motorola; Top management could brook no music in their souls. So what happened?

Motorola failed and its remains were shipped off to China. Ten years later Exxon invited us back having forgotten they'd rejected our advice: We were sworn to secrecy, and shown their current plan which they'd discovered in a drawer after turning over their Board and fired their planning staff... It was the introductory sketch of our prior advice! But alas … They got the score but had no music.

HOBBIES

Religion & advocacy for the down/daunted, politics & policy, computer software & electronic systems, physics, futurist.

LANGUAGE

Long struggle to invent a useful voice in global English; lived with French, German, Italian, Spanish (more Chicano and Caliche/Escaliche than Castilian); worked with Arabic, Danish, Dutch, Russian, but in none sufficient for fluency; some intense study of occasional utility in scholarly antiques of Greek, Hebrew, Latin, Mandarin, Old English, Sanskrit; dabbling in invented languages – the usual suspects.

Languages, beside their obvious uses, harness my interests into this hobbyhorse: World cultural development (especially as encoded in language) progresses faster by an uprising of highly diverse, delightful creatures than by the forces of nationalist pride and dour academies.

Given the enormous investment the world makes in education, what is the evidence of what works and why? For this instant, let me report one major result: Most effective learning is like learning the sub-language used to express and collaborate in solving problems in a specialty skill field and its culture. It often gets down to just learning two to twenty thousand concepts and becoming fluent in the associated words and grammar. Wikipedia's core could be mostly reduced to tutorials of sub-languages.

Now we commonly are in awe of how, taking natural languages as the example, nationalist and even small-group pride can recruit enormous energies, and dour academies can goad critical reflection, both needed for productive designs.

Wikipedia could fluoresce by inciting those forces to show – via articles on particular subjects – enduring insights into the world and its possibilities, and strip away the prideful dross. Altho culture- and language-wars inevitably ensue, there can be no progress without contrast, and no collaboration without harmonization.

Right now, too many Editors enforce hum-drum.

Often with sentences that run on for thirty to fifty words. Reveals its priorities by have a hundred times more rules on how to enforce hierarchy, authority, who or what is valuable by fashion or social convention than by the intrinsic value of interest, ingenuity, or potential contribution; these are all the hallmarks of fundamentalist, dictatorial, fascist regime bent on suppressing science and uncomfortable break-outs of the human spirit or music of the soul Adopt publishing conventions of a hundred year old publication linked to glorifying empire. Prohibits use of spatial syntax and devices well-established in research readability, learnability, and attractive presentation from 50 year-old scientific study. Encourages Learning as an anthropological pattern of Bricolage, the retreat of education in pseudo-scientific cultures who compromise with Modernity by treating culture as a kit of Christmas-tree-like ornaments to be hung on logics that are obscured, and must be because they might encourage understanding. Values Fundamentalism far more than Fundamentals.


Goethe advised: Be bold! And Great Forces will engage. Martin Luther King advised: Be Good! And Angels will wrestle out the way.


ALSO For the prosaics of my stance, see my conventionalized blurb at LinkedIn ["Gregg Edwards PhD DSc"]